View Full Version : Sharpening turning tools: some comments on Hock's new book

25th Jan 2010, 04:35 PM
Getting a sharp edge on a tool is an important part of the turner's skill set.

Hock's book devotes one chapter to this matter.

Here are my comments on it and some musings that run beyond Hock's scope: click (http://ern.reeders.net.au/blog/hock-on-sharpening-a-turners-perspective)

Comments in reply are welcome.

25th Jan 2010, 05:29 PM
I am fairly new to turning so after reading a few books by the likes of Raffin and Rowley I just followed the advice they give and sharpen gouges and scrapers on a dry white wheel freehand. I know the edge is not the best but it is quick and it gets by. Skews and parting tools get a lick on an oilstone as I like a better edge on them. This is still quick to do. I got a Sheppach wet grinder over a year ago with the woodturners jigs, expecting my sharpening dreams fullfilled. It does a mean edge on a gouge but setting up time for all the different gouges takes way too long for my likeing. I was soon back at the dry grinder. There is a need for a real good edge for final cutting and if tearout is present but for the bulk of the work the dry grind method works for me. Even with bench chisels and plane irons where a razor edge is required I am finding myself drifting back to the oilstone and only use the wet wheel for serious regrinds of the primary bevel. The wet wheel does a fine job but takes time to set up for each tool. It is great if you have old battered tools to restore. I just prefer turning to sharpening so less time on one is more time on the other.

25th Jan 2010, 06:02 PM
Yep John, whatever trade-off works for you, no argument from me.

I also dislike the time wasted in jig setups but take time out from turning when I'm lacking creative energy to do tool 'house keeping' with a bunch at a time. While in the flow often just refresh an edge with a lick of a fine diamond hone.

25th Jan 2010, 09:00 PM
I know what you mean, I often have a shappening day when nothing else is happening. I was just shown the oilstone as a young bloke and that is the natural retreat.
I will have to check out dimond stones one of those days.

25th Jan 2010, 10:00 PM
I also dislike the time wasted in jig setups but take time out from turning when I'm lacking creative energy to do tool 'house keeping' with a bunch at a time. While in the flow often just refresh an edge with a lick of a fine diamond hone.[/QUOTE]

Yep go along with that.

Sometimes I just go through all the tools and sharpen them and take my time finishing with the diamond hone.On those infrequent days I hardly ever do any turning.

Cliff Rogers
25th Jan 2010, 11:11 PM
....I also dislike the time wasted in jig setups but take time out from turning when I'm lacking creative energy to do tool 'house keeping' with a bunch at a time. While in the flow often just refresh an edge with a lick of a fine diamond hone.
Nailed it for me. :2tsup:

Cliff Rogers
25th Jan 2010, 11:20 PM
I also tend to do rust checkups on those house keeping days too.

Clean up & treat any spots on the shafts & flutes. (Rust, dings etc)

Buff & polish the flutes & shafts, coat them with Trad Wax.

Inspect tips & sort the ones that need heavy grinding to fix dings or change angles etc & the grind them on the Blue wheel.

Sharpen them all on the Pink wheel & as each is finished, the tip is treated to some more Trad Wax.

I tend to just hone with a diamond hone(s) when I pick it up to use it.

As I use it I will give it a touch up with a hone.

26th Jan 2010, 04:57 AM
What I think is happening when we do a lick with a stone or hone is that we are just creating a burr, not sharpening the tool.

This edge doesn't last long as the burr breaks down and we have not removed the wear bevel (ie. the rounding over of the point that was created by the intersection of two planes).

26th Jan 2010, 09:13 AM
Ern, a great early morning read. :2tsup:

Given some of the preceeding remarks about the slowness of the wet grinding system, I must get out to the shed and check and time it.

If I'm using my favourite 3/8 bowl gouge on the no 2 setting on the Tormek (and the bar is already set on "A"), I reckon a re-sharpen is pretty quick and well worth the effort. A few steps, gouge into the jig, depth set with the jig to 65mm and away we go. Three or so passes on the black stone and we are done. I don't bother to use the honing paste unless I'm feeling anal.

26th Jan 2010, 11:54 AM
Ern your Blog is a good read.

I'm glad you gave Darlow a mention. His books and videos are top notch with very clear and readable text and instructions. I am sure the Tormek angle setting jig is an evolution of a basic, but excellent, jig designed by Darlow.

The plans for this jig are in the book you mention. In fact they are presented so that you can copy them, glue them to some ply and cut them out. Couldn't be much easier!

26th Jan 2010, 12:51 PM
Thanks for the feedback.

I'll write some additions soon on what Lee's ch covers that's of use and missing from Hock.

Yes, Darlow covers the mechanics of cutting as well as honing (old school) and grinder and linisher-based sharpening.

Darlow's writing seems to have impressed Lee too.

Ed Reiss
26th Jan 2010, 01:10 PM
Good blog, Ern. Keep up the good work.

27th Jan 2010, 01:02 PM
Thanks Ed.

I've added a bit as promised on Lee vs Hock, tho it isn't intended as a comparo.

The more I return to Lee the more impressed I am tho still recommend beginners put the effort into studying Darlow and then turning to Lee.

27th Jan 2010, 07:52 PM
Helpful review, thanks, Ern.

Interesting comment on Hock's assertions about grey wheels and water cooling. Must be a plane maker thing. Terry Gordon, the plane maker in Alstonville, my home town, is of like mind.
HNT Gordon - SHARPENING PROCESS (http://www.hntgordon.com.au/sharpeningprocess.htm)
Far less an issue with HSS, which is mostly the case with both modern plane blades and turning tools.

As for the best method for sharpening various turning tools, I keep working at optimising my technique. Expect that will be the case until I stop turning. The Hock book may help me improve a bit more before it's too late....:U


27th Jan 2010, 10:00 PM
Ern and Neil

I always watch and respect your posts. So do others. :2tsup:

This sharpening business still confounds me. I try to sharpen the chisels at the local club and the flutes are all different..... :doh: On the Tormek of course. Hard work at times.

So, not trying to hijack the thread, why is it so hard?

A P & N bowl gouge needs more work on the front, Hamlet more on the wings.....

Damned hard for an ex-office worker.

28th Jan 2010, 06:47 AM
Gouges have diff flute shapes Jeff as you know, and if you vary the time spent on the tip vs the wings you'll get a diff geometry out of the same gouge.

Sometimes its best to start from scratch, grind the cutting edge away and resharpen. There've been links to vids about that posted here before.

Allen Neighbors
29th Jan 2010, 03:03 AM
Ern, I alway enjoy your posts, even though I don't always comment. Enjoyed reading your blog, and agree with most of it... :D ... the rest, I can't comment on, because I've never read Hock, Lee, or Darlow. Probably why I have such a hard time getting an exceptionally smooth cut... :(
Keep it up, we all learn from you.

29th Jan 2010, 12:16 PM
Thanks Ern, very insightful article.
Ordered the Lee book couple of weeks ago, still waiting. Will now source Darlow as well.
Have a heap of hand me down tools in very poor condition, seen a lot of use but not by me, well not yet anyway.

The tip on the Scheppach is most interesting as the Tormek is way outside budget. Discussing this with my brother, the one with the talent for tinkering.

Off topic: Note you've recently taken delivery of an Akeda jig. Looking forward to your impressions/review/pics. Like what I've read on other sites re: the Akeda, must gather more positive info. for chief accountant.:rolleyes:

Thanks again,

29th Jan 2010, 12:35 PM
Thanks for the feedback Rod.

re the Akeda jig, have only had the chance to do 2 joints so far and for this flatwork dummy it's simple and easy.

Grahame of Home (http://www.woodworksupplies.com.au) is kitting up as Aus distributor.

Bear in mind when you do the budget for the boss that it requires a precision router (as does any jig whereby the router is brought to the work) ... one that has a flat rigid base and that will take Porter Cable style guide bushes exactly concentric to the shaft. You can make your own base out of acrylic or source an after-market base; Akeda have one for common US models with a nice twist; Grahame lists one on his website too, or Pat Warner in the US.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy Lee's book as much as I did, and do.